Table of Contents, Engage and Inspire Your Audience Resources Page Previous Section, Engage and Inspire Your Audience Next Section, Engage and Inspire Your Audience

7 Steps to Audience Involvement

By addressing the needs of the people in your audience, you are involving them in your speech. The more you can make them participants and not passive listeners, the more effective you will be. By participants I don't mean people who bombard you during a question-and-answer session, but people who are thinking, reacting, and taking mental notes as you speak. Here are seven steps that help instill the participation that leads to the persuasion that occurs when the audience follows your argument and actually accepts your ideas:

  1. Prepare your speech with care, so your listeners will know you care about them and their needs.

  2. Make the audience want to hear you; devise an intriguing, startling opening and a title you know will fit that audience.

  3. Present your ideas dramatically with stories, examples, and facts. You want people to remember what you say, and the support stories provide goes a long way toward making your speech vivid.

  4. Show how those ideas affect the people in your audience and what the benefits are. They now have the facts—you've supplied them. Now bridge the gap between your words and their lives. If you want your department to make formal use of job descriptions when hiring, tell them why: how these documents will help them find qualified people, save time, work more efficiently with the personnel department, and so on.

  5. Use language's most appealing words: discovery, easy, guaranteed, health, love, money, new, proven, results, safety, save, and you.

  6. Draw them in; ask the listeners to study or contemplate these ideas further. Involve them. Show them your ideas have a relevant context; they aren't just your private, unsubstantiated thoughts.

  7. Ask the audience to act on your ideas. The best speeches carry over—into petitions, changed minds, reorganizations, elections, new ways of doing things.

Your end can be the point where you reveal that formerly hidden purpose that guided your speech from the beginning. But it was never meant to be kept a secret. By the end of your speech, you should have built the logic, the facts, and the stories to such a point that no one doubts your commitment. Now you are trying to enlist the troops.


Table of Contents, Engage and Inspire Your Audience Resources Page Previous Section, Engage and Inspire Your Audience Next Section, Engage and Inspire Your Audience